Irish Premiership: Carrick Rangers 2-2 Ballinamallard Utd

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Irish Premiership highlights: McIlwaine earns Mallards draw at Carrick

Joshua McIlwaine struck an 83rd-minute equaliser to give bottom side Ballinamallard a draw with Carrick in the basement battle.

James McKenna blasted the Mallards ahead before a half-time altercation led to both managers being sent off.

Carrick hit back on the restart and moved in front with headed finishes from Michael Smith and Denver Gage.

McIlwaine slid in to net a crucial leveller to ensure the Fermanagh side stay five points behind Rangers.

It was was a game which only came to life after the Mallards grabbed the opener on the half-hour mark.

Matthew Smyth's header from a corner was cleared into the path of McKenna and he rifled into the roof of the net from 10 yards.

Carrick defender Denver Gage put the host 2-1 in front against the Mallards
Carrick defender Denver Gage put the host 2-1 in front against the Mallards

The visitors pressed for a second goal before the break and Richard Clarke volleyed wide before Richard Leddy saw his long-range effort kept out by Harry Doherty.

Tempers flared as the teams walked off at half-time, resulting in Carrick boss David McAlinden and United manager Gavin Dykes being sent to the stands by referee Steven Taylor.

It was all change at the start of the second half as Carrick seized control and they went close twice before finally levelling on 52 minutes.

Smith connected with Lee Chapman's cross to head in and moments later he was denied by a fine Richard Brush save.

Carrick didn't have to wait long to take the lead with Gage rising highest at the backpost to head home from an Eamon McAllister corner.

The bottom six

Ballinamallard struggled to find a response until McKenna flighted the ball into the path of McIlwaine and the substitute slammed the ball past Doherty from close range.

The Mallards looked the more likely to grab a late winner but it ended all-square - a fair outcome to a hard-fought encounter.

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